Fresh from opening for the legendary REVEREND HORTON HEAT last month, Albuquerque's own MOONSHINE BLIND, released their debut record ROADKILL, in a manner fitting a band with such a name, at THE LAUNCHPAD downtown.
In a party atmosphere that has made the LAUNCHPAD a favorite venue, the celebration of releasing the record began with Albuquerque's THE LORDS OF WILMOORE followed by Espanola's IMPERIAL ROOSTER, who play an impressive blend of folk, country, and rock that they call, fittingly, GONZO ROOTS MUSIC.
With the party kicked off right, MOONSHINE BLIND, who consider themselves "Boozegrass," although I cannot say with any certainty whether that is a reference to musical style, or to alcohol and weed, took the stage, along with copious amounts of beer and spirits, to celebrate their CD's release. Whatever label you want to give them, MOONSHINE BLIND is a well-mixed blend of bluegrass, punk rock, and Irish rockabilly that hits like a double shot of high end whiskey.
Albuquerque has a long tradition of having musicians everywhere draw inspiration from the Sandias, and paying homage to the Watermelon Mountains. MOONSHINE BLIND is no different, starting off the night with their intro MELON MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN. A short instrumental ditty that whets the appetite and provides a glimpse of what's to come. After a quick retune, and a shot of whiskey, the five-piece band comprised of vocalist and guitarist DYLAN O'CONNOR, drummer DUSTIN BROWN, JAY BERNSTEIN upright bass, GREG DUPY mandolin, and SKYLER LOVING harmonica, launched into SUGAR BABE, a modified cover of a lesser known JOHNNY CASH song called CHATTANOOGA SUGAR BABE. The song probably will not be picked up by the New Mexico Department of Tourism, but is sure to become an underground Albuquerque anthem with the sing-along lyrics: Albuquerque is a real fine town/ where you go a little crazy/ and your bug house bound. Not to mention how many of us out there can relate to the frustration of not having money to buy any cocaine? Even those who stay away from the nose candy can definitely relate to the next song, fan favorite, FUCK YOU DIE.
Who among us doesn't have the horrific memory of a terrible mistake from our past, (or for some unfortunates, present) that just makes your skin crawl to think about? One that didn't just break your heart, but broke it, stomped on it, and stole all your records to boot. FUCK YOU DIE is MOONSHINE BLIND's cathartic, therapeutic answer on behalf of us all. Seriously, it belongs on a greeting card.
Next the band performed the title track from the album, ROADKILL. A song that relates the story of a tragic accident between an automobile and an anonymous woman. While some may rush to label the song misogynistic, it is, at least, equally an ode to the songwriter's love of his car. Which in this case is the more loyal of the two.
The quintet then essentially told the crowd to KICK ROCKS, a catchy little tune that near as I can tell is about failing a field sobriety test or maybe something deeper. They followed up with CAN'T GET RID OF YOU, a seemingly biographical lamentation which accurately makes comparisons between a clingy girlfriend and gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Interestingly, from a band whose songs are chiefly about booze, drugs and loving, then hating passionately, women, MOONSHINE BLIND pleasantly surprised the audience with a cover of the classic STEVE EARLE song BEN McCULLOCH, a song about the nineteenth century soldier that joined the Texas Army under SAM HOUSTON, fought in the Mexican-American War, eventually becoming Brigadier General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He was killed rather anti-climatically, shot out of his saddle while scouting at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Then if the song is to be believed, became a foot soldier in the DEVIL'S INFANTRY. The dichotomy of the subject matter between the songs was practically lost when the band of tattooed degenerates, closed their performance with a cover of BRITNEY SPEARS' BABY ONE MORE TIME. It is debatable which version looked better, but easily MOONSHINE BLIND's version sounded better.
After a quick intermission, Albuquerque staple, American Death Groove band, SORRY GUERO, took the stage in solidarity and unity of supporting local music and their friend's success. They played with incredible skill and intensity that leaves you wondering if the entire building will fall around you and, afterward, the feeling like you can't wait to see them again.
We can only hope that the shot glasses will align like the stars, and we'll have the opportunity to see these four indomitable bands share a stage again.
MOONSHINE BLIND - ROADKILL can be heard in its entirety, free of charge at www.moonshineblindsucks.com
MOONSHINE BLIND and THE LORDS OF WILMOORE will be playing the annual St. Punktrick's Day show on Friday March 17th at THE LAUNCHPAD.